THE brother of a West Belfast man who was shot dead by the UDA in 1994, says he is concerned that “the clock is being run down” in his brother’s case as his inquest is further delayed.

The inquest into the murder of Paul ‘Topper’ Thompson (25) was due to resume on Monday at Banbridge Magistrates Court, however, due to the PSNI being late in providing documents, the inquest will now resume at a later date. Under the British government’s controversial Legacy Act, all Troubles-related inquests must be concluded by May 1.

Mr Thompson’s inquest has been ongoing since 1995 and there was not a substantive hearing until 2023.

Paul Thompson was shot dead by a UDA gunman on the 27 April 1994. The gunman fired through a hole in the peace wall that separated the nationalist Springfield Park and the loyalist Springmartin Road. Paul was was sitting in the passenger seat of a taxi when he was hit. Earlier that day residents had notified the RUC that the peace wall had been breached. No action was taken to either repair it, or to provide security for residents on the nationalist side of the peace wall, even though it was known that the area was subject to regular attacks by loyalist paramilitaries. 

Gemma McKeown, CAJ solicitor representing Paul’s brother, Eugene Thompson, said: “This further delay is very concerning in light of the short timeframe in which this inquest has to complete. There is the pressing need for authorities to take all additional measures to expedite compliance with their duties including those to provide timely and adequate disclosure.

“Paul’s only surviving next of kin is his brother, Eugene (our client), as his mother sadly passed away without an inquest being held into his death. This further setback has caused distress and frustration to both Eugene and the wider community."

Eugene Thompson, Paul’s brother, said: “I don’t understand why all this information couldn’t have been provided at the one time. It is just delay after delay. I am concerned that the clock is being run down in my brother’s case and that I will never get a Coroner’s finding. They are dragging it out in the hope that it will be forgotten about, but I will never give up.”